Prepare a case for and against the use of
By using the Bright Sparcs search option, you can find many scientists who were involved in biological control programs. The User's Guide to Bright Sparcs contains more details on how to search the database.
Dame Jean Macnamara is one Australian scientist who advocated the use of biological control in Australia; she championed the use of myxomatosis. The research program was managed by the CSIRO and there are many great stories to be discovered. For example,
At one time, the release of myxomatosis coincided with an outbreak of encephalitis, caused by Murray River Fever. The public blamed myxomatosis for the encephalitis outbreak. To disprove them, the well-known scientists Frank Macfarlane Burnett, Ian Clunies Ross and Frank Fenner injected themselves with myxomatosis to prove to the public that it was perfectly safe!
Two other Australian biologists whose work focussed on ecology and conservation issues were:
Herbert Andrewartha, zoologist and entomologist. He was President of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia, and Chairman of the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council of South Australia.
Find out about the achievements of scientists
To help your students learn more about Australia's long and productive scientific, technological and medical heritage, some questions that could be asked in class are:
Sir William Bragg (Physics 1915)
Sir Laurence Bragg (Physics, shared with his father 1915)
Lord (Howard) Florey (Physiology and Medicine 1945)
Sir Robert Robinson (Chemistry 1947)
Sir Macfarlane Burnet (Physiology and Medicine 1960),
Sir John Eccles (Physiology and Medicine 1963)
Sir Bernard Katz (jointly, Physiology and Medicine 1970)
Sir John Cornforth (Chemistry 1975)
Peter Doherty (jointly, Physiology and Medicine 1996)
Note: you might like to compare the career details of the Nobel Prize winners listed above and decide for yourself who you think is really Australian.
To assist you in preparing for your class, there is a variety of information available at this site:
Bright Sparcs is a biographical and bibliographical database of Australian scientists and contains over 3,000 entries. It includes both scientists who were Australian by birth and those who undertook significant scientific work in Australia.
Each Bright Sparcs entry contains: the scientist's name, dates, place of birth, and some details of their professional life. There are at least a few lines of information on each of these scientists and this can act as a starting point for further research in libraries and a jump point to other online sources, where you can find more information about that particular scientist.
The Physics in Australia to 1945 site contains more detailed information on Australian physicists, with listings of their publications and biographical details. The introduction is an excellent place to start with this site.
When you access the Australian Academy of Science Biographical Memoirs, you will find lengthy, detailed life stories of over eighty famous Australian scientists. These files can then be downloaded and/or printed out for later use at home or in the classroom.
For especially keen students, or if you need to find out much more information on a particular scientist, a Bibliography is now available through Bright Sparcs. This resource lists any biographical books or articles about an Australian scientist, which can then be located in your library.
To start you on your way, a number of Australian scientists are listed below. All did significant work in Australia, and all have detailed online resources, in addition to their basic Bright Sparcs listings:
Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, a Nobel Prize winning medical scientist who worked in the fields of immunology and virology.
John Turner, a botanist who became one of Australia's first ecologists and conservationists.
Dame Jean Macnamara, a medical scientist who undertook research on Poliomyelitis at a time when it was a major health concern. She was an champion and supporter of myxomatosis for rabbit control in Australia.
Jock Marshall, a zoologist who fought in Papua New Guinea in the Second World War and established the Zoology Department at Monash University, despite having lost his left arm by accident in his youth.
Joan Freeman, a celebrated Australian physicist who overcame great obstacles to follow her chosen career. She studied at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University, and worked at the British Atomic Energy Research Establishment. In 1976 she became the first woman to be awarded the British Institute of Physics' prestigious Rutherford Medal.
Richard van der Riet Woolley, the British astronomer who, during his time as Director of Mt Stromlo Observatory, changed its direction from solar physics to astronomy and astrophysics. He was an early and consistent advocate for the Anglo-Australian telescope.
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